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Shopping for the best TV for your home theater, dorm, or apartment can be a daunting task with so many options available to customers; the best TVs offer an excellent balance between price, picture quality, sound, and features. Models from LG, Sony, and Samsung tend to dominate the market with smart features like integrated virtual assistants and voice controls, adaptive picture and sound settings, and virtual surround sound, but you can also find great options from smaller manufacturers like TCL and Hisense. If you want your home theater to be on the cutting-edge of entertainment, you need to be willing to spend a lot more to get top-of-the-line features like OLED screens, laser projection technology, and object tracking sound. LG and Sony offer great OLED options that give you incredible color and detailing, but are often very expensive.
If you've been holding out on making the leap into 4K, the technology is now mainstream enough to be very affordable. You can now find 4K UHD resolution televisions for just a few hundred dollars, depending on the screen size, making it possible to update your home theater or living room on a budget. Having a smart TV is now an essential for home entertainment, and both large and small brands offer popular preloaded apps like Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube to make it easy to access all your favorite shows and movies. Some televisions also come with free live TV channels via PlutoTV or proprietary apps to let you watch live news, sports, and more without a cable or satellite subscription. So whether you're a die-hard movie buff who needs the best-of-the-best when it comes to picture and sound or just want an affordable TV for your living room, there is a model out there to fit your needs. We've evaluated the best TVs from brands like Samsung, Sony, and LG to help you decide which is right for you.
Updated OS and processor
Adaptive picture and audio
No composite inputs
Samsung's new Q80T line of televisions are some of the best TVs available on the market. With screen sizes ranging from 49 to 85 inches, they'll be able to fit into just about any room from dorms and apartments to home theaters and rec rooms. The upgraded QLED panel uses intelligent, direct backlighting with various local dimming zones and dual LED lighting for enhanced contrast, detailing, and intense color. It's built with an improved, Quantum 4K processor that uses artificial intelligence to analyze movies and shows scene-by-scene for optimal upscaling and picture quality. The new Tizen operating system features Samsung's Bixby and Amazon Alexa virtual assistants built-in, and it is compatible with Google Assistant so you can choose your favorite hands-free control system.
Movie buffs and music lovers will enjoy the adaptive picture and sound settings; the TV has eco sensors that monitor your room's ambient lighting and sound and automatically adjust the image and audio for better viewing and listening. It also uses object tracking sound to produce virtual 3D audio without extra equipment and the active voice amplifier boosts dialogue so you never miss a line of your favorite movies and shows. Console gamers can take advantage of the AMD FreeSync support, allowing for ultra low-latency input and better on-screen motion for a more immersive gaming experience. This new line of Samsung televisions supports multi-view; you can stream shows and movies or watch broadcast programming while simultaneously mirroring your smartphone or tablet screen. This is perfect for staying up-to-date with sports scores, stock activity, and news headlines.
Dual LED lighting
No adaptive picture and sound
No AMD FreeSync support
If you're interested in Samsung's newest television models, but don't need all the bells and whistles, the Q60T is a solid runner-up. It uses dual LED lighting to produce warm and cool colors simultaneously, giving you over one billion colors and intense color volume at almost any viewing angle. It's available in screen sizes from as small as 43 inches to as large as 85 inches, meaning you can find one to fit almost any size room from dorms to home cinemas or basement rec rooms. The new Quantum 4K Lite processor allows for HDR support to produce stunning detailing and enhanced contrast. It also uses artificial intelligence for better upscaling of non-4K content for a consistently beautiful picture. The voice-enabled remote has Bixby and Alexa built in, and it is compatible with Google Assistant; this gives you hands-free controls right out of the box without the need to set up an external smart speaker.
Bluetooth connectivity lets you mirror your smartphone or tablet screen while streaming your favorite content, and if you want to set up a custom home theater, you can wirelessly connect sound bars, satellite speakers, and subwoofers. The improved Tizen operating system features preloaded apps like Netflix, YouTube, and Hulu so you won't have to deal with the hassle of downloading your favorite streaming services. With the ambient mode, you can download art or upload your own images to turn your television into a living slideshow or piece of home decor when not in use. The Q60T is compatible with the Samsung SmartThings app, allowing you to use the voice-enabled remote to control other smart devices in your home network.
Excellent picture quality
Nvidia G-Sync and AMD FreeSync support
Movie buffs know that picture quality can make or break a watch party or movie night with friends and family. The LG CX television uses cutting-edge OLED technology to give you the absolute best picture available outside of professional theaters. It uses organic substrates and individually lit pixels to produce stunning 4K resolution, intense colors, and incredible detailing. With Dolby Vision IQ HDR technology, the TV enhances contrast and detailing to make images really come to life. The CX is built with a third generation a9 processor which uses LG's ThinQAI to optimize sound and picture settings as well as suggest new content based on your search and watch histories.
The built-in speakers use Dolby Atmos audio to produce virtual surround sound without extra equipment, but you can use the available Bluetooth connectivity to wirelessly set up a custom audio configuration for the ultimate home theater. With Apple AirPlay2 support, you can share your iOS device screens for more ways to watch videos and listen to your favorite music. The voice-enabled remote works with Google Assistant and Alexa for hands-free controls right out of the box. Sports fans can take advantage of the new sports alert feature to stay up-to-date with scores, stats, and league standings; perfect for bracket pools and fantasy football leagues. Gamers will love the CX's support for both Nvidia G-Sync and AMD FreeSync to reduce input response times and latency for virtually lag free gaming. With four HDMI inputs as well as RF and composite connections, you'll be able to connect all of your playback devices, audio equipment, and game consoles without any issues.
For anyone looking to buy their first 4K television or upgrade their home theater while sticking to a modest budget, the TCL 43S425 is an excellent option, one of the best TVs available at this price point. It retails for under $250, so it will fit all but the tightest of electronics budgets. It runs on the Roku platform, giving you instant access to thousands of apps, shows, movies, and songs without the need for an external streaming device. The Roku hub menu is streamlined and simplified to let you quickly and easily access game consoles, apps, cable and satellite boxes, and even over-air antennas without having to memorize HDMI input locations or navigate confusing menus.
The Roku app can turn your smartphone or tablet into a voice-enabled remote for easier searching and browsing; you can also connect the TV to an external smart speaker like the Google Home or Amazon Echo for expanded voice controls. The 43-inch screen gives you great 4K resolution, and with HDR support, you'll get impressive detailing and contrast to make images look even more lifelike. This TCL model has three HDMI inputs and a USB port as well as RF and composite connections so you can easily set up a custom home theater.
Plenty of inputs
Not FHD or 4K
If space is at a premium in your home theater, apartment, or dorm, the TCL 32S325 is easily one of the best TVs in a smaller chassis. With a 32-inch screen and VESA compatible wall mounting options, you can easily tuck this TV onto a dresser, shelf, or hang it on a bit of unused wall to free up floor space. It features built-in Wi-Fi and the Roku platform to make streaming your favorite shows and movies quick and hassle-free. The simplified Roku menu makes accessing playback devices, apps, and game consoles fast and easy; the app turns your Android or iOS devices into a voice-enabled remote for better searching.
If you have a smart speaker, you can connect it to the TV to use Alexa or Google Assistant for expanded hands-free controls. The TV produces great 720p resolution, and has a refresh rate of 60Hz for silky smooth motion during intense action sequences. It has three HDMI inputs, a USB port, and RF and composite inputs so you can connect all your entertainment devices at once.
Four times the resolution of 4K UHD
Object tracking sound
No 8K content available yet
Tech savvy customers who want to future-proof their home theaters should check out the Samsung Q800T. This new model from Samsung is the best TV featuring bleeding-edge 8K resolution images; that's four times the resolution of 4K UHD and 16 times that of 1080p. Combined with an AI-assisted Quantum 8K processor, you'll get awesome picture quality even if you're watching older, non-8K or non-4K content. The QLED panel has multiple contrast control zones to create deep, inky blacks for enhanced contrast and detailing as well as built-in eco sensors that monitor your room's ambient light and sound to automatically optimize settings for the best viewing experience possible at home. The Q800T has a six speaker array that utilizes object tracking sound technology for virtual 3D and surround sound audio without an expensive or bulky audio configuration. It also has an active voice amplifier that boosts dialogue in shows, movies, and games so you never miss a line.
A dedicated game mode supports AMD FreeSync for smooth, lag-free gaming and automatically adjusts refresh rates and picture settings for great graphics. The voice-enabled remote features Bixby and Alexa built in and works with Google Home for hands-free controls over your TV right out of the box; you can also connect the Q800T to the Samsung SmartThings app to use the remote to control other smart devices in your home network. The new Tizen operating system has preloaded apps for instant streaming of your favorite shows and movies, as well as the ability to mirror your mobile device's screen while simultaneously watching broadcast or streamed programming.
Harman Kardon audio system
8-inch throw distance
Ambient Light Rejection screen
Heavy (42 pounds)
The Hisense L10 100-inch 4K UHD TV is the best TV for those to whom money truly is no object. That said, the staggering price tag is justified by some impressive technology. This TV takes a page from cinema projectors and screens to produce a theater-quality viewing experience at home. The giant 100-inch screen uses Ambient Light Rejection technology so that in any lighting environment you get the clearest, most colorful picture possible.
The TV unit itself uses laser projector technology for more precise detailing and an ultra-short throw distance of just eight inches. The unit has a Harman Kardon audio system built in for a truly cinematic listening experience when watching everything from cartoons to sports to blockbuster movies. It also features smart functionality so you can download your favorite streaming apps right to the unit. If you're looking for voice controls, the L10 has an Amazon Alexa-enabled remote for hands-free browsing and control. If a 100-inch screen isn't big enough, it also comes in a 120-inch size with a price sticker to match.
Integrated cable management
Automatic game mode
No native Chromecast
Only 2 HDMI ports
Televisions with 55-inch screens are some of the best TVs for living rooms and home theaters, and the Samsung TU8000 is one of the top 55-inch options available. It features an all-new Crystal UHD display and Crystal 4K processor to give you crisp, clean 4K resolution and a great color range at almost any viewing angle. It uses the new Tizen operating system to give you access to preloaded apps like Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube for streaming right out of the box. The voice-enabled remote has Bixby and Alexa built-in and is compatible with Google Assistant so you can choose your favorite hands-free control system.
The back of the TV has built-in channels and clips for easy cable management to keep your setup looking neat and organized. The screen features an extremely narrow bezel to give you an edge-to-edge picture for a more immersive viewing experience. Native Bluetooth connectivity lets you wirelessly set up sound bars, speakers, and subwoofers for a custom audio configuration. Gamers will enjoy the dedicated game mode that automatically detects when you start up your console and instantly adjusts the refresh rate and picture settings for low latency gaming. With the ambient mode, you can turn your TU8000 into a piece of art or home decor when not in use.
No component inputs
While newer options from LG and Samsung have exciting features like simultaneous streaming and screen mirroring or OLED screens, Sony continues to impress with their X950H model. This TV is built on the X1 Ultimate processor and uses the AndroidTV operating system to give you stunning 4K resolution and all the smart features you've come to expect in home entertainment. The proprietary Triluminos display is designed to produce a wide range of colors and enhanced contrast for more lifelike pictures. The X950H has a dedicated Netflix Calibrated mode to stream movies and shows as their creators intended; it also has an IMAX Enhanced mode for more immersive audio and pictures.
The TV uses Sony's acoustic multi-audio technology to turn the entire screen into a speaker for near-perfect image and audio matching and virtual surround sound. The voice-enabled remote features Google Assistant built-in and is compatible with Alexa for hands-free controls without an external smart speaker. It's also compatible with Apple Homekit so you can use Siri for voice commands or mirror your iPhone or iPad with AirPlay 2. Built-in Chromecast lets you cast your Android-based mobile devices to the TV for more ways to share videos and photos. The X950H has a dedicated game mode that is optimized for PlayStation 4 to give you lower latency input responses, enhanced 4K graphics, and virtually lag-free play. Bluetooth connectivity lets you wirelessly set up a custom audio configuration for the ultimate home theater.
The Samsung Q80T is one of the best TVs available on the market. It uses Samsung's proprietary QLED technology to give you great 4K UHD resolution, detailing, and color as well as ambient sensors to automatically adjust picture and sound settings to suit your room. It uses AMD FreeSync technology to reduce input lag and response times to give you near real-time reactions to your button presses, giving you an ultra-smooth gaming experience. If picture quality is your top priority, the LG CX OLED television is the only option. It uses cutting-edge OLED tech to give you incredible color and detailing, making both new blockbusters and classic movies come to life. It works with both Nvidia G Sync and AMD FreeSync to give you a great gaming experience no matter what console you use.
Taylor Clemons has been reviewing and writing about consumer electronics for over three years. She has also worked in e-commerce product management, so she has the knowledge of what makes a solid TV for home entertainment.
Shopping for the best TV for your bedroom, home theater, apartment, or dorm room can be a bit daunting with how many brands and features are available to choose from. Along with major manufacturers like Samsung, LG, and Sony, there are models available from TCL, Hisense, and Insignia; each of these brands brings something different to the table in terms of smart features, picture and audio quality, and design. Televisions with smart features have become the absolute gold standard for home entertainment as more and more people choose to stream movies and shows and cut the cord with cable and satellite providers. Many televisions available have preloaded apps like Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+ so you can watch thousands of shows and movies right out of the box. Others simply allow you to download your favorite apps right to the TV to curate your own entertainment.
Most manufacturers also feature hands-free voice controls in their televisions, either with voice-enabled remote controls or compatibility with smart speakers like the Amazon Echo and Google Home; Roku-based TVs use dedicated apps to turn your smartphone or tablet into a voice-enabled remote. Other features available include 4K displays, HDR support, and virtual surround sound to create a more immersive, cinematic viewing experience in your own home. We're going to break down some of the most important factors to consider when shopping for a new TV to help you decide what is right for you.
TVs with native 4K resolution have become more mainstream, and cheaper, in recent years as the demand for high-quality content has continued to rise. Televisions that use 4K resolution give you four times the resolution of full 1080p HD models, creating more colors, enhanced contrast, and better detailing. Streaming services like Netflix, YouTube, and Prime Video have started offering a wide variety of content in 4K in order to take full advantage of the technology. If you still prefer to get your entertainment from cable, satellite, and over-air broadcast sources, you can still buy 1080p HD televisions. They tend to be much cheaper than their 4K counterparts because of the older technology, but since broadcast media hasn't quite caught up with the UHD trend, you don't have to worry about your new TV being obsolete in a few months or years. These models are great for anyone working with a limited budget or aren't keen on making the switch to 4K quite yet. As if this wasn't enough, some manufacturers have taken the leap into the future of home entertainment and started to offer 8K televisions.
Models with 8K resolution give you four times that of 4K and 16 times that of 1080p HD. As impressive as that sounds, the visual difference between 8K and 4K isn't nearly as dramatic as that between 4K and 1080p. Refresh rates play a huge part in making your UHD picture look truly stunning; 4K televisions routinely use 60Hz refresh rates, or cycling the picture 60 times per second, to produce smooth motion and great detailing. For an 8K television to look its best, the television would need a native refresh rate of 120Hz (120 times per second) to eliminate motion blur and muddy details. There is also an extreme lack of 8K content outside of Japan, and even there, you need a special, dedicated satellite and costly equipment to get 8K channels. Televisions with 8K resolution are also extraordinarily expensive, costing tens of thousands of dollars and placing them well out of reach of average consumers. While it's tempting to splurge on an 8K TV to future-proof your home theater, the lack of viable content and rapidly shifting technology makes a 4K model much more attractive as a choice.
When shopping for a new TV, one of the first things to consider is which brand you'd like. There are dozens of television manufacturers out there, each with different size classes, price points, and smart features available. Brands like TCL and Hisense deliver smart features and excellent picture quality with affordable options; perfect for anyone working with a limited budget. They use streaming platforms like Roku or the AndroidTV operating system to give you access to thousands of apps as well as limited voice controls and connectivity options.
Mid-range options are available from larger brands like Sony, Samsung, and Vizio. These models may come with a higher price point, but they offer many more smart features. Besides streaming and voice controls, you'll also get local dimming zones in the screen for enhanced, scene-by-scene analysis of your favorite shows and movies for superior contrast, color volume, and detailing. Some may also use Dolby Atmos audio technology to produce virtual surround sound for a more immersive cinematic experience. Sony, Samsung, and LG offer high-end models which give you everything you could ever want in a smart TV. They offer larger screen sizes with more advanced picture technologies like QLED or OLED panels, AI-assisted rendering and upscaling, native voice controls, and ambient sound and light sensors that automatically change picture and sound settings to fit your environment. Knowing which brands offer what features in their televisions makes it easier to set a budget and narrow down your options.
Now that you've decided which brand you'd like and which picture resolution works best for you, it's time to focus on exactly which smart features you'd like. Streaming capabilities are an absolute must for anyone looking to cut the cord with cable and satellite providers. Fortunately, all modern smart TVs feature either preloaded apps like Prime Video, Hulu, and YouTube or have advanced operating systems that allow you to download your favorites. If you rely on a smart home network or already have smart home devices like an Amazon Echo or Google Home, you may want to get a TV that allows for hands-free voice controls. This lets you turn your TV on and off, choose apps, or change settings without fumbling with a confusing remote control. If you're always online, screen mirroring is an important feature that lets you cast your smartphone, tablet, or computer screen to your television for better viewing or simultaneous watching with your favorite movies and shows.
For anyone looking to put together a home theater, high end models feature ambient noise and light sensors that constantly monitor your environment and automatically adjust picture and sound settings to suit the room. They also feature Bluetooth connectivity that lets you set up wireless audio equipment like soundbars, satellite speakers, and subwoofers for the ultimate surround sound audio configuration. For console gamers, a TV that features either AMD FreeSync or Nvidia G Sync technology is important. These technologies automatically detect when you start playing a game and reduce input lag and motion blur while boosting color volume and contrast for buttery smooth action, beautiful visuals, and near real-time reactions to your controller inputs.